For those of you that follow me on instagram or facebook, you'll know that my whole nuclear family and I were involved in a pretty violent car accident Monday night. We were all in the car, Colt, Lane, Zuko (our puppy) and I, driving home from my mother's house at 8:30 pm when a chevy SUV crossed a median at 50 mph and hit us head on.
Before I write about this, know that we are all okay, even Zuko who was recklessly riding without a seat belt and Lane who is already forward facing. Those two are the most okay. Colt is the next okay, and I am the last okay. I'm okay, but....
I've been in my share of bad accidents. I totaled my first car (a Mazda Rx7 for those of you paying attention) by hydroplaning on a highway into a guard rail. I totaled my second car (a Mazda miata with manual steering) by turning left across traffic (turning required muscle - mind you). Just a year ago in my little red Yaris I rear-ended someone on the way to the beach. All of these, while semi-high impact, were my freaking fault. I did something stupid, was going too fast, traveling too close. I learned lessons from them and never repeated my mistakes.
This accident was not my fault. We were driving along talking about the weekend, only two blocks from home when I saw it coming. I saw it coming right at us like the worst dream and just screamed. There was nothing I could do and I thought we were going to die.
After the impact, I smelled smoke and my adrenaline was pumping so fast that my entire body was shaking, my vision was so focused. I still feel like I'm coming down from that adrenaline two days later. My door wouldn't open and the airbags were in the way and I pushed Colt out and pushed the dog out and went straight for my screaming son. I scrambled with him to the sidewalk, far away from the car and sat on the curb calmly telling him the sirens we were hearing were "an ambulance! How exciting!"
Colt picked up the pieces in those first moments. Zuko had crapped everywhere and he got him clean, leashed him and got him home, found me my phone so I could call my mom, because all I could do was sit there, with only one flip flop on and the other lost in the remains of my car, and whisper to Lane.
The ambulance checked me out, the hospital checked me out and one of the strangest things is that everyone was telling me I probably wouldn't feel my injuries right away...that they'd hit me in a few hours or a few days or a few years, and I know there's some truth to that as the days pass and new things feel bruised and sore, but at the time the worst part of those after-moments was thinking there was something seriously wrong with me that I didn't know. I thought maybe I was dying and couldn't feel it, maybe I had broken bones and couldn't tell. My anxiety was sky-high.
And now I'm afraid - because it's how I am. Today especially I can see the accident clear in my mind and when I talk about it (which is all I want to do) I start shaking. Saturday I'm buying a bigger car and I know that these fears will dissipate as I slowly start to drive again, but right now I can touch it and it's so fresh and the feeling of complete helplessness is still so clear that I'm just....I'm okay and I'm not okay.
We were lucky. Accidents, ones that are your fault and aren't your fault, happen every day and life is fragile. We are just skin and bones and blood and tissue and electricity and that is not steel. It is penetrable and can be touched and broken and just disappear so fast, so so fast.
* FYI: The other driver in this accident was amazing, apologetic and remorseful and sweet. He waited at the scene until the ambulance OK-ed me. He sustained no injuries and was able to drive away from the accident. I told him it was okay and that we were all okay and we had no hard feelings at all.
**FYI: All I could think about when I saw the police report was the cop sitting in his car mapping our little tiny cars and our little tiny paths and even the little tiny debris....hilarious!